A Field Cage Bioassay System for Testing Candidate Sex Pheromones of the Tobacco Budworm

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Baited electric grid traps placed in screen cages stocked with a population of laboratory-reared adult male tobacco budworms, Heliothis virescens (F.), provided a method of bioassaying sex pheromone isolated from females. The relationship between space and moth density proved to be critical if trap catches were to reveal significant differences. An extract made from a wash of the bodies of virgin females was used as a standard for the bioassays; then a dose-response curve was obtained by using extract containing 10–50 female equivalents (FE). The bioassay revealed that the extract of abdominal tips found to contain a flight stimulant in laboratory and small cage tests was ineffective as a sex attractant. Also, the natural intact sex pheromone was highly volatile, and doses of 10–500 FE were attractive during only a single night. The electric grid traps had to be baited at the beginning of the period of peak male sexual response, ca. 4 h after dark, because the attractive moiety dissipated so rapidly. Extracts from macerated abdominal tips did not contain a masking agent and the entire sex pheromone was extracted from dark-conditioned females in a wholebody solvent wash.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 15, 1974

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  • Annals of the Entomological Society of America is published in January, March, May, July, September, and November. Annals especially invites submission of manuscripts that integrate different areas of insect biology, and address issues that are likely to be of broad relevance to entomologists. Articles also report on basic aspects of the biology of arthropods, divided into categories by subject matter: systematics; ecology and population biology; arthropod biology; arthropods in relation to plant diseases; conservation biology and biodiversity; physiology, biochemistry, and toxicology; morphology, histology, and fine structure; genetics; and behavior.
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